Have you ever asked yourself these kinds of questions before?
- What is my mission in this life?
- What is the best way FOR ME to make money, provide for my family, and serve others?
- Is there a way to connect service and financial prosperity? If so, what is it?
- If we all have 24 hours in a day, how is it that some people are able to live a wealthy life-style with what seems like plenty of time and money, while most people (98%+) work hard to achieve mediocre results at best?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions then you’re in good company. My company!
My purpose in writing this is to share with you the different ways that I have done business along with their pros and their cons. And also to put down in writing the characteristics of what I might consider the ideal career. (Is it even okay to dream of such an ideal career?…) I’m going to assume it is and hereby list some of those characteristics:
- a line of work for which I have a natural ability and passion
- very high income potential (preferably no ceiling)
- income can continue even if I can’t or don’t want to work
- high flexibility of schedule
- few/no employees but ability to collaborate frequently with like-minded entrepreneurs
- little to no overhead/ability to work from anywhere
- allows me to provide the month to month income that covers my family’s needs/wants
- ability provide a positive impact on people in my local community and throughout the world
Is this asking for too much? I pray that my will may be in alignment with that of my Father.
I want to lay some important ground work and share with you the beginning of my professional development. It will illustrate the most important aspect of why I have sought to make any changes to begin with – MY WHY. To do so I will take you through various different FLASH POINTS, or paradigm shifts, in my life. These flash points will take up a number of blog posts (maybe 7 or 8) starting with this one.
Flash Point #1: W-2 employment – “That’s What My Future Holds?!”
Like many of us, I started out in high school working as a grocery store clerk, bagging groceries, collecting carts from the parking lot, and eventually graduated to scanning groceries and collecting money. Later on, during my college career, I worked as a janitor, then as a Resident Assistant in the dorms, then as a Carillonneur (yes, actually playing the bells), and then finally as an organ builder at M.L. Bigelow & Co. I’m proud of the work I did during these years – it still provides me with many good memories, like the wood carvings I did. I’ll never forget the confidence that Mike Bigelow must have had in me when he handed over his carving tools. (1st carvings HERE, last carvings HERE). I loved working together with others, each participating in creating a tangible thing – a work of art, a masterpiece. I love the lifelong friendships I forged during the 2 1/2 years I worked at Bigelow’s.
But there came a point, in early 2003, when I got a pay raise from $9/hr to $9.23/hr. I did a quick calculation and realized that if I continued working there for the next 15-20 years then I’d probably end up getting paid about the same as those who had worked there for the previous 15-20 years (somewhere around $14-15/hr…after 15 years of working!). In all honesty I don’t know what everyone else got paid but let’s round up and say it was $20/hr. That’s only $40,000/yr before taxes! That was such a startling realization, a FLASH POINT if you will, that I quit within two weeks and started my own piano tuning business quickly doubling my income and managing my own schedule. I’ll get more into that in my next blog post, but for now let’s sum up what I’ve seen as some of the pros/cons of W-2 employment:
Pros: This is where most people create their living, their savings, and their retirement. They enjoy 1. Regular, predictable work schedule (which is conducive to family life). 2. Regular, predictable pay (makes budgeting simple). 3. Benefits package which hopefully includes some, if not all, of the following: health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401(k) with a match. 4. In some instances (i.e. school teachers, military, firefighters, etc.) you’ll even have a additional pension on top of your retirement contributions (for those just entering the work force, however, these are less and less common).
Cons: There are also reasons why some people often feel discouraged in this position. 1. They are constantly at risk of being fired. Most companies go through restructuring, which may mean that you are let go. Sometimes this happens multiple times throughout ones’ working life. 2. Many people on this path feel like their time is not their own. 3. Someone else (their boss) determines their financial worth. 4. There is a definite ceiling of income. 5. You’re making someone else rich instead of yourself.
In the next blog posts I’m going to share with you my experience of being self-employed as a piano technician, real estate investor, as well as having built a life insurance practice. Be sure I will share with you their pros and cons. All in an effort to hopefully save you valuable time.